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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button -- in BD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 5, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    This one is simple.

    Filmmaker David Fincher is an acknowledged perfectionist. When I view his work, especially this film, I think of David Lean and his unflinching desire to reach the absolute on screen. I believe he would have been greatly appreciative of Mr. Button.

    Along with this Paramount / Criterion Blu-ray comes a documentary by David Prior, possibly longer than the film's 165 minutes, which I'm pleased to categorize as "perfect." This is the documentary that should have but never has been, created about the collaborative art, the precision, the pleasure, exultation and pain of filmmaking. As a master's level treatise, this documentary offers an entire college level program as to precisely what filmmaking is about -- from virtually every viewpoint, every level and every job of importance within the production chain.

    As to the Blu-ray presentation of this extraordinary film itself, I'm pleased to report that to these eyes and ears it reaches absolute perfection.

    Here in month five of 2009, I doubt that another contemporary home video release will be able to top overall quality that has gone into the creation of the Blu-ray of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

    I am in awe of the levels of creative and technical expertise that have gone into the production of this film.

    Absolutely, Positively Recommended!

    RAH
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Glad to hear this one is a winner on all fronts. I picked it up this morning and will probably take a look at it this weekend.
     
  3. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I was going to blind buy this--unfortunately wasn't able to get to the theater--based on the fact that I like a lot of Fincher's work and have always appreciated the extras included with his films. I heard about the documentary and thought I might like it even if I didn't love the film. But this morning I went conservative and decided to rent it. Looks like there is still a good chance it ends up in my collection. Can't wait to watch it and I'm glad that Blockbuster included both discs.
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I too was planning to blind buy this one. Glad to hear the BD is worthy of the film -- and that the Criterion/Paramount collaboratoin did not disappoint. [​IMG]

    Thanks, RAH.

    _Man_
     
  5. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    its a fine film. I saw it in the theatre. if you like his other work.. you will probably like this one. its his best film yet.

    Jacob
     
  6. Don May Jr

    Don May Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Robert!

    Because of your high recommendation, I just picked this up sight unseen. I didn't have a chance to see this in the theatre, but the high praise you give it made me curious.
     
  7. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I've now watched the film and some of the documentary. It is a brilliant presentation of a stunning film. I'm sure I will be adding it to my collection at some point.
     
  8. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Since the original master is already 1080p it's relatively easy to produce a superior Blu Ray. Go from 10 bit to 8 bit with proper dither and compress with care. And do the gamut mapping creatively.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe original was 2k.
     
  10. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    I think you are right that there was a 2K DI. American Cinematographer has some workflow details. I figured wrong since the Viper and Sony F23 footage was all 1080p (and not 2K) but it was integrated into a 2K DI and at least the Viper was anamorphic as well so the Blu Ray required downscaling anyway. I'm glad it turned out well.
     
  11. urbo73

    urbo73 Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting that most of the film was shot with either the Viper or the Sony at 1080p, and then upsampled to 2K for the DI (which also had the minimal 35mm camerawork as well). Then downsampled again for the Blu-ray to 1080p. I wonder if a direct transfer would have looked better for the digital footage (most of the film), skipping the up and downsampling. But I don't think possible, if everything was integrated into the 2K DI. If there had been no 35mm footage, it should have looked better no?
     
  12. Gekkou

    Gekkou Stunt Coordinator

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    So the 'scope ratio footage from the movie was actually anamorphic 1080p, higher resolution than the letterboxed video on the Blu-ray. So scaling would have been necessary either way.

    In any case, the Blu-ray looks fabulous.
     
  13. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Just saw this for the first time on Blu-ray today.

    I have been in the HT hobby since 1997 and over the years I've accumulated a lot of equipment and movies. Recently I've looked back on all of my investment and realized just how many movies are still shrink-wrapped, and how little time I have to watch them now that I'm in my mid-thirties and spending so much time with work and life. I've wondered about the validity of my purchases towards something that I spend now very little time enjoying.

    Watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in its 1080p glory with HD audio really made me appreciate what I have bought and assembled, and truly re-justified everything to me.

    This is a movie that was so close to my heart, and to be able to experience it in its highest representation in a home theater environment was invaluable. I was truly lost in the movie, and cannot recommend this BD highly enough to those who love Fincher's work, and who love movies that have tremendous insight into the human condition.

    Instantly one of my top 10 favorite films. And my top Blu-ray (in a similar fashion to how Fight Club became my #1 DVD when it came out). Fincher is only a few years older than me, so I think we're on this path where he's making movies that are very pertinent to my life at the time of their release.
     
  14. urbo73

    urbo73 Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, the Blu-ray is outstanding, not only in quality but content of course. Content is still king..

    What you say is true r.e. the Viper, but the hospital scenes shot with the Sony @ 1080p were up/downscaled. In theory might have looked better, but just in theory. As I said, this is an outstanding Blu-ray, and more importantly, an outstanding film.
     
  15. Mike.B

    Mike.B Stunt Coordinator

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    I watched the entire documentary last night and can vouch for this. What a truly fascinating making-of documentary. Great a/v quality on top of that, which most studio's treat as an afterthought on the special features. I wish all extras could be this rich. Kudos to David Prior once again, and all of the people who participated in putting it together.
     
  16. Gekkou

    Gekkou Stunt Coordinator

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    Agreed. I was responding to you saying that "If there had been no 35mm footage, it should have looked better no?" My point was that scaling, in one form or another, would have been necessary even without the 35mm footage.
     

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